MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

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December 28, 2012

Tahlequah squads win, Wagoner pair fall in Arkansas tourney

— Tahlequah was sluggish at the start, and had a relapse in the third quarter.

But the second and fourth quarters were good enough to pull out a 56-46 win over Prairie Grove, Ark., in the opening round of the Siloam Springs (Ark.) Holiday Tournament on Thursday.

Dalton Cunningham had 14 points, Jake Vader 13 and two others — Will Carlisle and Lain Wright — finished with nine. The Tigers (3-5), who overcame a two-point deficit in the opening eight minutes to lead 29-17 at the break, but went cold the third quarter and trailed by two heading to the fourth, where they went on a 22-11 tear.

“We ramped up our pressure and hit good shots in the fourth,” said Tahlequah coach Mike Leafgreen, whose team plays Siloam Springs, a 67-21 winner over McAlester, in a 7:45 p.m. semifinal today.

Another area entry, Wagoner, lost to Greenwood, Ark., 76-55. The Bulldogs (1-5) trailed 8-0 from the opening tip and 14-4 after one quarter but knotted it by halftime as Decarius Clark scored 10 of his 16 points in the second quarter to rally to a 31-all tie. Greenwood reclaimed command with a 23-8 third quarter.

In girls action, Tahlequah’s inside game enabled the Lady Tigers to take charge early in a 53-20 win over Gentry, Ark. Jhonette Cookson scored 11 of her game-high 14 points in the first quarter, all off assists from Casey Beaston, as Tahlequah (7-2) built a 20-7 lead. An 18-5 third quarter made it a 47-18 game and led coach Chad Walker to sit the starters in the fourth.

Marisa Girdner had 10 points. Tahlequah, seeded third, plays the tournament’s second seed, Siloam Springs, at 6:30 p.m. today. Siloam Springs beat Wagoner 52-25, keeping the Lady Bulldogs winless at 0-6.

Kristin Robbins led Wagoner with 14 points but got little help due to cold shooting and a flu bug that shortened the Bulldogs’ roster to 10 with six freshmen.

The rest of the area won’t resume play until next week.

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